The Five Best Unreleased Sisters of Mercy Songs

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My hobby is collecting musicians who go utterly shitballs crackernuts. If I had a religion, then Keith Moon would be my God and I would spend every Sunday morning checking into a hotel just to chuck the TV out of the window for no discernable reason. When I read articles about Roky Erickson I get an erection firm enough to type this article with. [Ed. note: Gross.]

But my special favorite blend of crazy is when musicians go into radio silence for whatever reason. When they're not releasing music it's usually because they are nursing some sort of psychotic notion; of this relatively rare subclass, the Sisters of Mercy's Andrew Eldritch is God-Mammon.

After the release of Vision Thing in 1990, the Sisters essentially went on strike against their record label and refused to release new music. Even after their contract was over, Eldritch has still never put out another album, seemingly because he views them as gateways to labels and labels as sea demons that need to be burned with acid at the first sighting.

However, that doesn't mean he has stopped writing music. Eldritch continues to tour every year, and has plenty of new songs. He just won't record them, so we're stuck with bootleg live footage. The good news is that since he doesn't seem to have any plans for an album, he apparently doesn't care about the bootlegs either.

So that gives us plenty of opportunities to check out the five best tunes that by all rights should have formed the fourth Sisters studio album by now.

5. "Arms" Eldritch first performed this song in 2009, and it displays some of the more political tendencies he started picking up in the 21st century. Still, it's a pretty sweet pop-goth tune with a gripping and raw late-career Alice Cooper approach to the guitars.

4. "Good Things" What's weird about "Good Things" is that it's been in the Sisters' catalog since the band was actually releasing albums in the '80s, but has never made it onto an official release. It's easy to see why, as it doesn't really fit in stylistically with Floodland- or First and Last and Always-period material.

3. "Summer" "Summer" is an amazing track, because to listen to because you can hear it as sort of a counterpoint to the coldness of Floodland, especially the deeper cuts like "Driven Like the Snow." It's got a more manic energy, but there's still that sense of being part of a greater whole.

List continues on the next page.

2. "Crash and Burn" First appearing in live sets in 2000, "Crash and Burn" is another of the more hard-rock-driven offerings from Eldtritch's post-Vision Thing career. In spite of that, it's also closer to a return to traditional goth, marking that innovative mixture of the two that always made the Sisters so grand.

1. "We Are the Same, Susanne" Probably the best-known of the unreleased catalog is "We Are the Same, Susanne," and it's easy to see why. It kicks a whole metric ton of ass, and is also the song that is closest to actually seeing a real release, as a live video has been up on the Sisters' official Web site for a time.

With the departure of Mike Varjak, who wrote the song's music, it's even more unlikely that we'll ever hear a proper studio version. Until then, goths will have to keep on Deadheading Sisters show and picking up these gems where we can.

Jef has a new story, a tale of headless strippers and The Rolling Stones, available now in Broken Mirrors, Fractured Minds. You can also connect with him on Facebook.


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